Campaign Interview: You Wished. We're Delivering

"Little known fact, Edwin McCain secretly voiced Denny’s skillets campaign in the 90’s."

Mike Lear
Executive Creative Director EP+Co

What was the original brief for this campaign?


This was part of our ongoing campaign to tell America about Denny’s On Demand, Denny’s new online and mobile ordering platform. That, and let’s do something interesting. That’s always the brief on Denny’s.
Tell us about your role in the creation of this work.
I’m the Executive Creative Director on the Denny’s account but this was a project I worked on closely with Rich Cutter, GCD, along with help from Lance Ford ACD and Chris Weiderman, CW. You don’t know them, but I can tell you they’re a dream team.
What inspired you to approach the campaign this way?
As you may know, Denny’s has a robust social following. especially on Twitter. And as we looked into what our fans were asking for – and talking about – on Twitter especially, we realized people have Tweeted their desire for Denny’s delivery, pretty much since there was Twitter. We even found someone asking for Denny’s delivery on Myspace. Once we gathered hundreds of Tweets from over the years, all pleading with Denny’s to make their wish a reality, we knew we had to do something to thank those people. After all, they along with others, were the inspiration for Denny’s on Demand.
How difficult was it to sell the idea to Denny's ?
We have a fabulous partnership with our client, John Dillon, Denny’s Chief Marketing Officer, and the entire marketing team who we work with. They loved the idea from day one and we collaborated on the concept from idea to execution. I couldn’t ask for a better client.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the process?
Biggest challenge - hoping the song would come out great and having zero guarantee that it would. But I got a text from Edwin the night he was writing it with two words: “You’re welcome.” along with an mp3 of the chorus. I immediately loved it, it was amazing. His snarky text was a joke, he’s a super genuine guy. He’s also fantastic musician and took the whole thing very seriously. We helped him write the lyrics but I think 75% of it came from him. He was the perfect partner.

We also shot the entire thing with our in-house team in an empty warehouse where our agency also has some workspace. So while we pride ourselves on being scrappy, it gets pretty real when you’re trying to pull off something that probably should have cost a lot more. Challenging, but we love it.
What did you learn from the experience?
Persistence really is everything. There are a million reasons for an idea to die and you just have to keep at it until it gets out the door.
What’s a “behind the scenes” story that only you know about?
Okay, this is the best part- we were looking at different performers we could use that would be affordable but interesting in some way. And someone in the office mentioned they were going to a party that night and that Edwin McCain would be there and they wondered would I want them to ask Edwin if he’d do it? “Sure!” I laughed. Well, Edwin was on the phone the next day. Turns out he’s a huge Denny’s fan and, little known fact, he secretly voiced Denny’s skillets campaign in the 90’s. Plus, he lives right here in Greenville, he was all in.
Mike Lear
Executive Creative Director EP+Co